Meet at the market: the scoop on squash

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Each week we meet up with Katie Hershfelt of Cultivate Events as she chats with farmers, chefs and shoppers at the Santa Barbara Certified Farmers’ Market.

This week, she spoke with Dan Hite at Jimenez Family Farm about this season’s bombardment of squash, in all shapes, sizes and colors.

Clockwise from top left: Sunshine Kabocha, Delicata, Buttercup, Jarrahdale, Butternut. (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

The rundown:

  • Butternut squash is a tan-colored, pear shaped, tried and true variety.
  • Red Curry squash has a vibrant orange hue. It can range in size and is great for roasting or mixing in with soups and pies.
  • Kobocha squash is typically dark green, but the Sunshine variety is orange. You can tell it apart from a Red Curry squash by looking for a green circle at the bottom.
  • Delicata squash is yellow, cylindrical and sometimes has green stripes. The great thing about these guys is their skin is thin enough to eat, so don’t worry about peeling them.
  • Buttercup squash is dark green with a blue “butt.” Like the name suggests, it has a buttery flavor.
  • Jarrahdale squash is an obscure Australian heirloom variety with a bluish-grey hue. It’s nutty, sweet, and stringless.
Dan Hite at Jimenez Family Farm shows off two varieties of Kobocha squash. Photo: Kathryn Barnes (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

Some tips:

  • Try replacing a squash for a pumpkin in your favorite recipe. Squash typically adds a deeper flavor, and you won’t need to add as much sugar or spice.
  • They’re delicious when cooked simply. Just cut them in half, scoop out the seeds and bake for 30-40 minutes on 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Pumpkin Custard (with Kobocha squash instead) from Nourished Kitchen:

  • pumpkin-custard-21 Kobocha squash (pureed, about 2 cups)
  • 9 pastured egg yolks (beaten)
  • 2 cups heavy cream (not ultrapasteurized)
  • 1/2 cup unrefined cane sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 dash unrefined sea salt
  • creme fraiche, whipped cream or double cream (preferably raw, to serve)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Whisk squash puree, beaten egg yolks, and heavy cream with cane sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla extract and sea salt.

Bring about two inches of water to boil in a double boiler or saucepan fitted with a bowl, and stir the custard continuously until thick enough to coat a spoon.

Pour the thickened custard into a baking our souffle dish and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit about thirty to forty minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the custard’s center comes out clean.

Serve warm with creme fraiche, whipped cream or double cream.

To check out all our past farmers market segments, head to